From Benedictine Place to HEARTH at Benet Woods

Lori’s story began when her husband started abusing drugs and her. Knowing it was a bad situation for her children, she transferred her position with America Corps to Indiana. When her service ended, she moved to Arizona, where she provided for her family working at day care facilities, a market research company and The Boys & Girls Club.

In July 2005, Lori was diagnosed with a serious health problem, which started affecting her work. Eventually she was laid off. When it came time for Lori to have surgery, her mother suggested moving back to Pittsburgh. Upon their arrival, her housing fell through and she had to stay with one friend while her children stayed with another.

Lori’s close friend, Michelle, suggested HEARTH. Lori was reluctant at first but after realizing she would have a secure place to live, an opportunity to go to school and receive additional support, she realized it was a new start. Within a year, she earned her associate’s degree from CCAC and decided she wanted to make a career out of working with children. After successfully completing the program at Benedictine Place in October of 2007, Lori moved out.

Fall_2009_005The foundation she received at HEARTH allowed Lori to work toward her degree in Criminal Justice at Point Park University and she is now working for Arc Human Services in Houston, PA. Lori received the stepping-stones she needed to reach her goal of getting a bachelor’s degree and not only is she working, she is also earning her master’s degree at Point Park University.

In October 2009, Lori and her family moved into HEARTH at Benet Woods. She is proud of her home and is in a safe, affordable place that she and her family can call home. “When Judy (Eakin) first told me about the plans for Benet Woods I thought she was crazy”, proclaimed Lori, “but Judy is a genius, this place is a blessing”. Lori loves having a garage especially since this past winter was so overwhelmingly snowy. The amount of space that she and her children have was a very nice surprise.

Fall_2009_008Living at Benet Woods has kept her children in the North Hills School District, where they excel in their academics and extra curricular activities. In their free time, the family likes to play Wii, read and watch movies. The kids like to have their friends over on the weekends too. In this neighborhood, there is also a stronger community bond.

Lori never imagined she would be in the place she is now. Her time here was just a springboard to her future. “I went from almost dying in the hospital, to moving forward and becoming successful.”

“I really don’t know where I would be without HEARTH. I am the type of person that does not give up. HEARTH allowed me to relax and get back on my feet. Life would have been harder without HEARTH.”